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The Coronation Roll
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Lady Usher of the Black Rod, Sarah Clarke, together with the Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith arriving ahead of the coronation ceremony of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey, central London
© PA

Lady Usher of the Black Rod

Black Rod – or, to give the full title, the Lady or Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod – is a senior official in the House of Lords.

Three distinct offices are rolled into one in the position of Black Rod: she or he is simultaneously Lady or Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod; Serjeant-at-Arms in the House of Lords; and Secretary to the Lord Great Chamberlain.

The office originated as Usher of the Order of the Garter in the 14th century. Letters of Patent were issued in 1361 by King Edward II to create the Usher as a Court position involved in meeting with Parliament.

By the sixteenth century, the role had evolved to become a position entirely associated with Parliament, rather than the Royal Court. In essence, Black Rod became the Monarch’s representative in the House of Lords.